MARKETING: A LEGAL FORM OF GAMBLING
Go to any casino. Put your money down on any game. Each one is set up with the odds against you. But there is a form of gambling allowed in every one of the 50 states where you can strategically increase your odds and obtain multiple returns on your money. Yes, you can lose money, but the more savvy you are, the more secrets you learn, the better your chances are of generating higher winnings.
The name of the game is, MARKETING.
From my earliest days in the marketing field, I often thought, “Marketing is a legal form of gambling.” You take chances with your money. You might get a little back. You might get a lot back. How do you decide which risks to take and how much to put down on the table, when to stay in…when to cut and run? Many times, when pitching for a new marketing account, I would explain this. With marketing, rest assured that you can keep throwing money at marketing, and there is never a guarantee that you will get your money back. You might get a little back, you’ll probably get some of it back, and the odds decrease on doubling, tripling, quadrupling it or more. Most importantly, there are shrewd ways of increasing your odds…there is always a chance at a jackpot.
Like in poker, the more skilled you are at reading the cards, knowing the odds, knowing where luck is required, and being able to read the other players, the better your chances of winning. The less skilled you are in marketing, the more the game is pure luck, like picking one number in roulette. Put your money on a number, and there’s a small chance you’ll hit, but the big odds are…you won’t. Take less of a gamble on red or black, and you might win, but not that much more than the amount you invested. In some cases, you can hit a massive return by being bold and reckless, but those opportunities are extremely rare.
How do you gamble with savvy, safety, style and a little bit of daring?
SPREADING YOUR MARKETING DOLLARS AROUND
TRADITIONAL MARKETING VERSUS MODERN
In roulette, you’re not bound to stick to any one number. The smarter way to play roulette is to hedge your bets by putting stacks of chips on several numbers. If any of those hit, you get several times the return. Though you hit, you lose on all the numbers which don’t hit. Play it smart, and you increase your odds of winning.
A solid marketing plan is like splitting your bets. You put x-number of dollars here, y-number there, z-number there, and leave a little to play around with.
Traditionally, there were a far smaller number of options (or marketing channels) to choose from in terms of where to spread your money. Think of a roulette wheel with fewer numbers on it, and because of that, a much higher chance of winning! The primary channels back then were: Corporate identity and branding, television, radio, Yellow Page listings and ads, magazine ads, trade journals, local print publications, trade shows, point of sale displays, environmental graphics, printed materials, direct mail, PR, your sales force, and a few others.
Now? Start fracturing almost all of those channels above into digital media. Radio alone has fractured into the traditional AM/FM broadcasts to satellite, digital radio, and streaming services, like Pandora and Apple Music. Television? Same thing… all the digital channels, streaming services, cable, satellite…
YOU HAVE WHAT I WANT,
BUT HOW DO I FIND YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE?
In most every case, if your prospective customer is not finding you on the internet on his or her own, they come to your site through other marketing channels, business cards, brochures, television, internet advertising, print ads, etc.
Back in the old days… 20 years ago and more, you needed a Yellow Page listing to show up on the local map (better yet, a paid ad to dominate the map). Some people in marketing these days probably don’t even know what the Yellow Pages were. These days, you have to be found, and the place where most people will find you is on the internet. If you rely on web searches to locate you, you have to put your money down on sound SEO strategies or hope that local indexes are ranking you. That’s a MUST number on the roulette wheel to hedge some of your bets. There are several of SEO strategies and SEM strategies and the algorithms, and strategies behind them are constantly changing and updating for now.
Back in the day, besides a Yellow Page listing, you could increase your slice of the marketing pie and increase your odds by rolling the dice on print collateral. As I see it, the best bet for collateral these days is to point others to a phone number or your web site. Your web site IS the modern version of print collateral. What’s fantastic about your web site is that it’s live. You can change it whenever you want without the extra cost of another print run. There are several gambles you take on your web site. Is it easy to navigate? Does it communicate a clear message? Is the message compelling enough to drive the prospective customer to respond? Change things up here and there for a month at a time, track results, look at your web site statistics and increase your odds by predicting which changes created a higher response and go back to older material if it generated a higher response.
GET THE MESSAGE?
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE’S “TELLS.”
In poker, every player has their tell. “Poker face,” is a term used for someone who has few (if any) tells. Do they touch a finger to their temple when they have a great hand? Do the corners of their mouths tighten if they have a bad hand, but choose to bluff?
How well do you know your audience? What gets them to respond? What do they think is important? What makes them feel pain if they aren’t using your product or service? What draws them to offerings by your competitors? What are the strengths you are offering? What are the weaknesses? How are you going to present yourself in the best light? What are they “telling” you when you communicate with them?
One of the most important ways to make sure you are getting maximum response is with the right message. Regardless of the media you are using, a powerful, attractive message will bring in the most response. Every channel you use involves messaging. A substantial number of channels also require visuals. Are those visuals catching the eye of the prospective customer in an appealing way?
GOT THE MESSAGE?
Hopefully, you gained a few insights from this article about how critical it is to have a powerful message, how to spread it around, and that it’s important to make changes that continually improve the effect on customer response.
Feel free to ask me any questions if you’re curious and would like to delve even deeper into any aspect of marketing.
Good “luck!” Hopefully, with marketing SKILL, you won’t need it!